In the garden, in parks, at the lake or in the mountains more and more often one sees an elastic band stretched between two trees or rocks and an athlete balancing on it. But who thinks once to defeat the slackline would have been all wrong. From tricks to jumps to dizzying heights, slacklining offers much more.
What is a slackline and what does it consist of?
You might think that slacklining came from the circus, from the high-wire acrobats, but in fact the idea came from somewhere else. Certainly rope acrobatics was an inspiration for the young lads who balanced on ropes in the early 80’s in the Yosemite Valley. Also for Adam Grosowsky and Jeff Ellington who were the first to use polyamide tapes for balancing. The two athletes spurred each other on, continued to expand the slacklining and sometimes set the milestone for the success of the sport. The first European slackline festival in 2006 in Austria then triggered the trend in German-speaking countries.
In contrast to the previously used materials (chains) or as in tightrope dance still common materials (steel or hemp ropes) Slacklines are created from mainly two materials – polyamide and polyester . The polyamide tape has greater dynamics and lightness and a higher pedaling comfort. The dynamic band opened up new possibilities of equilibrium forms and allows playing with gravity. So you should be well informed in advance which material is best for one.
Disciplines Slackline :
Trickline : The most popular slackline discipline is the trickline. Slackline beginners especially like to harness these as both standing and walking exercises are possible. But also professionals who – as the word Tricklinen already says – perform tricks on the slackline can be found in this discipline again. Tricklining is mainly limited to short (10-20m) and low (1m max) slacklines to prevent the risk of injury.
Highline : Again, the name reveals everything: a highline is when the line is stretched at a height from which one can not jump off easily and the slackliner must be secured. Here is a safety leash (Leash) used which is mounted on the harness and at the other end of the high-line system. The goal of this discipline is to cross the Highline or for the pros also various tricks on the Highline. It is mostly polyester used here – due to the low elongation and high breaking strength, this form is well suited for extreme heights.
Jumpline : A typical Jumpline is a very taut flat ribbon. Usually made of polyester, the band must be characterized by a low elongation but at the same time continuous development of this stretch. So it should be possible to rock without deadpoint (short stop of the line at the lowest point). The width of the Jumpline varies – but usually settles between 2.5 and 5 cm (for professionals 2.5 – 3.5 cm).
Waterline : The waterline is stretched over the water, which can be a trickline, highline, longline, jumpline, or rodeoline. A distinction is made between slacklines over running water (rivers, streams) and slacklines over stagnant water (ponds, lakes)
Longline : Here the slackline is stretched over long distances. From when it is however a Longline is allowed to lay down for themselves because there are only guidelines (50m Longline: approx. 5-8kN, 100m Longline: approx. 8-12kN, 150m Longline: approx. 12-15kN, 200m Longline: approx 15-20kN). When tensioning a longline polyester strips are suitable with low elongation.
Rodeoline : The characteristic of the Rodeoline is its extremely limp structure. The attachment points are between 3-5m, the distance of the attachment points between 6-10m, but is balanced only at a height of about 10-50cm.
Slackline extreme :
Of course there are extremes in slacklining as well: be it Michael Kemeter (AT) who performs a tightrope walk at 3770 meters on the Großglockner, the athletes group Skyliners who cross the slackline between two hot air balloons or Andy Lewis – one of the world’s best slackliners – who seems to have the adrenaline kick needed and therefore conquers various gorges.